Olympic24: Murray and Konta make history for British tennis
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Olympic24: Murray and Konta make history for British tennis

27 January 2016 / 08:08

It’s only eight hours old but it’s already been a very G’day for British tennis at the Australian Open. Andy Murray and Jo Konta both reached the semi-finals, the first time there’s been a British man and woman at that stage of a Grand Slam tournament since 1977.

  • Andy Murray keeps cool to beat David Ferrer in four sets
  • Jo Konta feels no pressure after booking semi-final place in straight sets
  • Hockey star Owsley claims world hockey award
  • Team GB Winter Youth Olympic Games squad named
  • GB women’s basketball gear up for EuroBasket qualifiers

Murray happy to share the limelight

Andy Murray is used to flying the flag for British tennis - but no-one could be happier to share the limelight at the Australian Open.

Murray secured his progress to last four, where he’ll play either Gael Monfils or Milos Raonic, with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory over stubborn Spaniard David Ferrer.

And Jo Konta's earlier win in the women's singles means it’s the first time Great Britain have had two Grand Slam singles semi-finalists since 1977.

“That was a pretty brutal and physical match and I held up pretty good,” said Murray.

“Jo has done an unbelievable job. She’s had some great wins and beat a lot of seeded players and she took her opportunity and played great.

"It’s very exciting to have a British woman in the later stages of a Grand Slam because that’s not happened in a long, long time.”

Konta feels no pressure as fairytale continues

Johanna Konta insists she feels no pressure from the weight of history after becoming the first British woman to make a Grand Slam final in 33 years at the Australian Open.

Konta booked her final four clash against number seven seed Angelique Kerber with a commanding 6-4, 6-1 victory over China’s Zhang Shuai, who had lost her previous 14 Grand Slam matches before this run to the second week in Melbourne.

“I felt I did quite a good job of removing any sort of occasion from the match,” said Konta, the first British semi-finalist in a Grand Slam since Jo Durie in 1983. 

“I really just took it as tennis match and I was competing against a really good opponent.

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Owsley clinches FIH Rising Star award 

Lily Owsley insists her award win came as a huge shock after being named as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Rising Star of the Year for 2015.
 
The England and Great Britain forward beat stiff competition to clinch the award, which replaced the FIH World Young Player of the Year prize and is decided by the combined results of an online vote and peer votes from international athletes.
 
Owsley was a key cog in Great Britain's unbeaten run en route to winning the World League Semi-Finals in Antwerp and securing Olympic qualification.
 
The 21-year-old also starred as England triumphed at the EuroHockey Championships, scoring a late equaliser in the final against the Netherlands to take the game to a shootout.
 
After beating Xan De Waard (Netherlands), Charlotte Stapenhorst (Germany), Ross Keddell (New Zealand) and Maria Verschoor (Netherlands) to be named as FIH's rising star, Owsley credited her team-mates.
 
"Individually this is the biggest award I could have won, but really I'm lucky to win it and lucky to have so many fantastic team-mates around me," said Owsley.
 
"I couldn't do anything without them making me look good! The quality of the other players was so high – I can't quite believe I've won. It's such a massive honour." 

Team GB squad named for Winter Youth Olympics

A 16-strong squad of athletes has been named to represent Team GB at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer next month.
 
The 1994 Winter Olympics were held in Lillehammer and the Norwegian city will now play host as the next generation of winter sports stars descend – with 1,100 of the world's best young athletes competing in 70 events over ten days.
 
The event runs from February 12-21 with Team GB represented in seven of the 15 disciplines: alpine skiing, bobsleigh, curling, freestyle skiing, ice hockey skills challenge, luge and skeleton.
 
The 16 Brits include four bobsleigh athletes, who will compete in the first-ever monobob event in an Olympic programme, while skeleton star Ashleigh Pittaway is a real medal contender having won four of the qualification races for the Games.
 
Lillehammer 2016 is the fourth Youth Olympics, and the second winter edition, and Team GB chef de mission Adam Pengilly is adamant the experience will only benefit the young stars moving forward.
 
"It's really exciting to announce the team and in just a few days’ time we'll be gathering together to kit the team out and to assemble for the first time before flying out to Norway," said Pengilly.
 
"This will no doubt be the pinnacle of these athletes' careers so far and we want the Youth Olympic Games to be part of a journey to help with their development both as competitors but also as people.
 
"Lillehammer 2016 will be about them gaining the experience of being part of an Olympic environment as well as delivering the best possible performance that they can.
 
"We've got a great mix of sports and we're represented in seven of the 15 disciplines, with quite a small delegation. I'm sure we're going to see some exciting things from these young athletes in Norway and beyond."

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Buceta keen for preparation camp to be launch pad

Great Britain women's basketball head coach Jose Maria Buceta is hoping the upcoming preparation camp can be a launch pad to success ahead of next month's crucial EuroBasket Women 2017 qualifiers.
 
Buceta has named 16 players to the preparation camp as he gears his team up for games against Group C rivals Albania and Montenegro on February 20 and 24.
 
Great Britain are seeking a fourth consecutive appearance in the Final Round although their chances suffered a blow with back-to-back defeats against Montenegro and Italy in the previous qualifying window last November.
 
The camp sees a first senior call-up for England U18 star Kyla Nelson while fellow youngsters Savannah Wilkinson and Eleanor Jones are also included.
 
GB's most-capped player Stef Collins returns after injury ruled her out in November while a slew of Olympians, including Chantelle Handy, Rachel Vanderwal and Jo Leedham also get the call.
 
And Buceta insists now is the time for his troops to really push on.
 
"I am looking forward to seeing the players again and working with them, because there were so many positives from the last window – even if we didn't quite get the wins," he said.
 
"I remain very proud of the effort and application of the players, because in both games, we had the opportunity to take victory and especially in the one against Italy.
 
"Now we are looking forward and we have to take things step by step – even if we will be big favourites in the first of these next two games against Albania.
 
"We have to show them respect and must be prepared if we want to get even more confidence by taking a first win into the following game with Montenegro.
 
"It is important we also remember that we are a good team and we have good players, who will be doing everything they can to get two wins in this window."
 
Sportsbeat 2016

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